Posher than HEMA
The service on the tea trolley did not belong to the family, but was added later. It is an example of a partnership between art and industry. In the 1930s nearly all Dutch potteries enlisted the talents of designers, whether external or in-house. This service is a variant of the ‘Strand’ service designed exclusively for Hema by Edmond Bellefroid (1893-1971) around 1933. Named after Hema’s buyer Mr Stranders, the service was a huge commercial success.
Edmond Bellefroid was head designer at De Sphinx pottery from 1929 to 1946. In the 1930s he designed more than thirty-five services, most of which were put into production. Under his leadership the company’s product range embraced the international modernist style. Bellefroid focussed on the technical aspects of mechanised earthenware production. In addition to designing for Hema, he also designed the streamlined Maas service for De Bijenkorf with a brown glaze. These department stores wanted exclusive ceramics aimed at a fashion-conscious market.
The service with characteristic black and red glazes is rarely stamped with a maker’s mark: after all Hema only sold items under its own brand name. The service that is now on the tea trolley is a variant of the one designed for Hema. The Sonneveld family would never have bought a tea service from Hema as they would have considered this shop a little beneath them. To enrich the interior, a variant of the service has been chosen with a grey-green glaze and a restrained gold rim. This decorative scheme complements the German dinner service that belonged to the family.
G.M.E. Bellefroid, Strand tea service, 1933, private collection. (Enrichment)
Edmond Bellefroid at serviezendomein
The Secret of HEMA, a VPRO documentary from 2013 about how this Dutch department store conquered the world.